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Asma al-Assad, wife of Syrian leader, hit by EU sanctions

The European Union has slapped sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's wife Asma, recently exposed over online shopping sprees involving retailers in London and Paris as her husband continued a vicious crackdown on his people.

Asma al assad eu travel shopping banEnlarge
The President of Syria Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma al-Assad in 2010. It was announced on March 21, 2012 that the European Union plans to ban Asma al-Assad from traveling to or shopping in the EU after the release of e-mails revealed her support of the president's brutal crackdown on the Syrian opposition. (MIGUEL GUTIERREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

The European Union has slapped sanctions on Asma al-Assad, the wife of Syria's president, who was recently exposed over online shopping sprees involving retailers in London and Paris as her husband continued a vicious crackdown on his people.

All assets she may have there have also been frozen, the Associated Press reported.

It was also revealed British officials are looking at the possibility of stripping Assad, a 36-year-old British-born ex-banker, of the British half of her dual citizenship, the Vancouver Sun reported.

Assad once projected the image of a glamorous woman with Western-inspired values. However, Reuters noted, she had stood by her husband's actions through the bloody, year-long crackdown on the Syrian opposition which according to the UN has left at least 8,000 people dead.

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Assad was included in the latest round of EU sanctions against the regime's inner circle, designed to increase pressure on the Assad regime to end the brutal crackdown on the unrest that has been underway for more than a year.

Her husband's mother, sister and sister-in-law, have also been banned from traveling to EU countries.

The foreign ministers also imposed a ban on eight government ministers, while the assets of two Syrian companies were frozen.

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Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said Assad could not be barred entry to the UK while she retained UK citizenship, despite the EU travel.

"British passport holders do obviously have a right of entry to the United Kingdom," The Telegraph quoted Hague as saying.

However, he said, she was not expected to travel to Britain given the current circumstances in Syria.

“But given that we are imposing an asset freeze on all of these individuals and a travel ban on other members of the same family and the regime, we are not expecting Assad to try to travel to the United Kingdom at the moment,” Hague said. 

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120324/eu-sanctions-syria-president-bashar-al-assad-asma